Incremental Results vs Radical Results

by | Sep 2, 2023 | Business Growth


Amidst the perpetual transformation of both business and personal growth, the unwavering chase for results emerges as the guiding star. Results are the tangible markers of progress, the fruits of labor, and the destination of our endeavors. However, not all results are created equal. In this exploration, we delve into the intriguing realm of incremental results versus radical results, unearthing their distinctions, impact, and implications for personal and organizational growth.

The Incremental Journey

Incremental results, as the name suggests, are the outcomes achieved through gradual, step-by-step progress. They are the safe, predictable gains we make by following a known path. For instance, imagine a company that consistently increases its annual revenue by 10% through incremental improvements in its operations, sales, and marketing strategies. These improvements are essential for steady growth, and they allow for manageable adjustments over time.

Incremental results often provide a sense of security and stability. They are like building a staircase—one step at a time—towards a predefined goal. This approach is suitable for maintaining and optimizing existing processes, especially when the environment is relatively stable and change is gradual.

The Radical Departure

Now, let’s contrast this with radical results. Radical results are not about incremental progress; they are about transformation. They challenge the status quo and redefine the boundaries of what is possible. Radical results are akin to taking a quantum leap, transcending the limitations of conventional thinking and action.

Consider an entrepreneur who, in a radical move, pivots their business model entirely, entering new markets and disrupting their industry. This leap doesn’t follow a linear path; it involves a complete shift in strategy, mindset, and approach. Radical results demand audacity and a willingness to embrace uncertainty.

The Distinctive Traits

1. Prediction vs. Declaration

Incremental results are predictable because they rely on known factors and incremental adjustments. You can reasonably forecast the outcome of a 10% annual revenue growth based on historical data. The fundamental difference between incremental results and radical results is that incremental results are always predicted while radical results are first declared and achieved through an innovatively designed and created roadmap. They involve venturing into uncharted territory, where the path forward is designed in alignment with what has been declared.

2. Comfort vs. Discomfort

Incremental results often offer comfort and familiarity. The processes and strategies are refined over time, minimizing surprises. In contrast, radical results thrive in discomfort. They challenge the norm, require innovation, and demand a high tolerance for ambiguity. Achieving them can be a bumpy ride.

3. Short-term vs. Long-term

Incremental results are typically short-term focused. They involve making steady progress over short intervals, such as quarterly or annually. Radical results often have a long-term perspective. They may require significant upfront investments of time and resources, with the payoff realized over an extended period.

When to Choose Incremental Results

Incremental results are invaluable in various scenarios:

  • Stability: When the environment is stable, and the market conditions are relatively predictable, incremental progress ensures steady growth.
  • Risk Aversion: In risk-averse organizations or situations, incremental improvements offer a safer approach to change.
  • Resource Constraints: When resources are limited, incremental gains can be achieved with less upfront investment.

When to Embrace Radical Results

Radical results come into play when:

  • Disruption is Necessary: In rapidly changing industries or when faced with disruptive technologies, radical shifts are often the only way to survive and thrive.
  • Innovation is Vital: To stay ahead of the competition, foster innovation, and redefine markets, radical thinking and action are essential.
  • Personal Growth: On a personal level, radical results can lead to profound personal growth and transformation, pushing individuals to their limits and beyond.

The Middle Ground

In reality, it’s not always a black-and-white choice between incremental and radical results. Many successful organizations and individuals find a balance between these two approaches. They maintain stability and gradual progress while simultaneously nurturing a culture of innovation and radical thinking.

This hybrid approach involves:

  • Continuous Improvement: Embracing incremental improvements in daily operations and processes to maintain efficiency and reliability.
  • Innovation Initiatives: Allocating resources and fostering a culture of innovation to explore radical ideas and seize transformational opportunities.

The Power of Radical Thinking

While incremental results provide a sense of security and gradual progress, it is often radical results that leave a lasting legacy. Think of the groundbreaking innovations in technology, science, and art that have transformed our world. These achievements did not come from playing it safe; they emerged from bold, radical thinking.

Moreover, the pursuit of radical results can catalyze personal growth and resilience. It pushes individuals and organizations to adapt, learn, and thrive in dynamic and uncertain environments.


In the grand tapestry of life and business, both incremental and radical results have their place. The choice between them depends on the context, goals, and appetite for risk. Incremental results offer stability and predictability, while radical results unleash the power of transformation and innovation.

Ultimately, the most successful individuals and organizations are those that can navigate the spectrum between these two approaches. They harness the reliability of incremental progress while daring to dream, innovate, and achieve radical results that redefine the future. In this delicate balance lies the key to sustained growth and enduring success.